Pirelli has rejected suggestions that it does not listen to the requests of Formula 1 drivers when designing its tyres, explaining the process behind its compounds.
Pirelli’s 2020-specification tyres were rejected unanimously and thus 2019’s tyres are still in use this year – and will be once more in 2021 as part of the compromises agreed in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.
World Champion Lewis Hamilton recently called on Pirelli to change its approach for its 18-inch tyres in 2022, commenting that “when they made the target letter the drivers were not a part of this discussion.”
The target letter is the document agreed upon by Formula 1 stakeholders and to which Pirelli works.
“We had a lot of discussions about the target letter initially for 2021, for the 18-inch tyres, and is now for 2022,” said Pirelli’s Formula 1 boss Mario Isola.
“Drivers have been involved in the discussion, in the latest target letter we decided to review it again in order to list the targets, giving the priority to what the drivers feel are the priority, like reducing overheating and degradation.
“We have a lot of discussion on that, because if you reduce degradation there is no reason to have more than one stop basically, why you should lose time to stop once more and maybe lose position on track?”
Isola expanded on the difficulties Pirelli faces when designing its tyres.
“There are a lot of subjects in the target letter,” he said. “Some of them are difficult to achieve all together: having a tyre with much higher grip but also a lot of consistency is really difficult, when you have a lot of grip you usually have high degradation, it’s the qualifying tyre idea.
“I know drivers like the grip, I know they are asking for an ideal tyre, that is our thought and plan for 2022, for 2021 as we said already it’s difficult as we don’t have any option to upgrade the product, so we will focus that for 2022.
“We listen to the drivers, I don’t want to give the message or hear the message that we don’t listen to the drivers, as every time the drivers are available we are always available, I‘m talking for Pirelli but also for FIA and FOM.
“I’m very happy to follow what Lewis is asking for but then we need to put first on paper and the realities I think is there has to be a compromise.
“We cannot have 100 per cent grip and 100 per cent consistency and no degradation and all of that.”